Monthly Archives: February 2006

Sales Tax: How Real Families Would Be Affected

I have written before in this blog about various aspects of the proposed Anchorage sales tax, however I was struck by the lack of serious analysis and projects considering the importance of the subject. I was forced to rely on various studies that were done earlier in Alaska, or were done elsewhere. However, I just obtained some very interesting material from Assembly Member Allan Tesche that begins to provide some of the missing local, contemporary analysis. Read the rest of this entry

Billions for BP: Trickle Down for Alaska

British Petroleum raked in $66 billion dollars in revenue this last quarter, up 22% over the previous quarter. BP cleared $3.7 billion in profits during the same period. A lot of this revenue came from Alaska oil, oil that belongs to Alaskans–oil that belongs to homeless Alaskans, Alaska veterans, Alaska children who do not have health insurance, Alaska young people that cannot afford tuition, and Alaska rural residents who have seen their village budgets decimated. It is our oil, but their revenue, and their profits. Sounds like bad public policy, but–better late than never–perhaps this gross injustice will be tweaked in the not too distant future… Read the rest of this entry

Privatization: Frequently a Poor Public Policy

The following is a reprint by permission of an article that first appeared in Senator Kim Elton’s newsletter, Off the Record. This article was originally published under the title, “State puts out a contract on DOT budget .” Privatization of public resources is a huge issue in Alaska, and we intend to address it in future blog articles. ldw

Privatize purchasing and save money–that was the idea behind a state procurement experiment launched a year and a half ago.
Turns out it was a bonbon solution. Privatizing sure tasted good to some legislators but, in the end, it really did nothing but make the government budget fatter. At least a million dollars fatter in 2005. Read the rest of this entry

Property Taxes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We come to the consideration of property taxes indirectly, by way of consideration of sales taxes touted as “property tax relief” for home owners. We have had several previous blog articles on the issues of sales and property taxes. This discussion will takes us a bit further into the issues of property taxes. Here is why–as taxes go, property taxes are almost always more fair and more equitable than sales taxes, so it may make a lot more sense to explore our options with property taxes before plunging headlong into sales taxes, as some Assembly members are proposing. In other words, we know that sales taxes shift the burden of taxes way over to low and middle income families, and off the backs of the wealthy and of corporations. This, of course, is unfair. People should pay their fair share of taxes, but they shouldn’t be forced to pay someone else’s share too. Read the rest of this entry

YOUR Involvement with the Alaska State Legislature

This morning I attended the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in my pajamas. No one seemed to mind.

That’s the beauty of the State’s teleconferencing system. Alaskans can listen, testify, and remain involved with public policy creation without leaving their homes. In Alaska, such innovations are necessary to keep citizens involved. Flying to Juneau once a week to provide testimony simply isn’t possible for most people. Here are some of the ways you can stay involved with the Legislature during the session:
Read the rest of this entry